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Something for Nothing


Published 1940


Cartoonist Rube Goldberg creates a little animation to explain how fuel is converted to power in the modern automobile engine.


Run time 8:47
Producer Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor Chevrolet Motor Company
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

"WITH THE HELP OF RUBE GOLDBERG, THE PICTURE PROVES THAT WE CAN'T GET SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. THAT IS, TO GET POWER OUT OF AN ENGINE, YOU HAVE TO PUT FUEL IN. HOWEVER, MODERN ENGINES ARE DESIGNED TO CONSERVE FUEL & DELIVER FULL POWER ON EVERY STROKE."


CHEVROLET ADVERTISING AUTOMOBILES TRANSPORTATION GOLDBERG, RUBE CARTOONS CARTOONISTS ANIMATION ENGINES MOTORS FUEL ENERGY PETROLEUM OIL GASOLINE POWER STROKES CYLINDERS PISTONS DRAWINGS FANTASY HUMOR
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Reviews

Reviewer: ERD - - August 29, 2006
Subject: Rube GoIdberg terrific
Mr.Goldberg is terrific in this short. His humor is still funny today. He has lots of showmanship and personality. The rest of the film is bland. In those days, gasoline was
"unlimited."
Reviewer: Relative Too - - August 27, 2006
Subject: Something for Nothing
This quirky short features obviously faked demonstrations - (ahem, how can you pressurize the gas in the cylinder by simply hitting a loose piston with a hammer and walking away? in fact, how do you get gasoline to explode with no pressure on it at all?) and an attack on 'perpetual motion machines' such as that crackpot scheme, the Niagra Falls Hydroelectric Dam - you can't get something for nothing eh?

An entertaining piece of propaganda/subtle advertising for its time, and another damning piece of evidence against the gas and auto industry. They were obviously threatened by hydro electric power, which would reduce the need for gas generated power and gasoline, and so set out to subtley influence the public's opinion on hydroelectric power.

Worth a look, just for the animated Rube Goldberg devices, but bear in mind that its demonstrations are fake, the explanations of engine operation are crude, and the slanderous moral of the story is that the hydroelectric dam is a perpetual motion machine(bad) and by implication the internal combustion engine and oil will last forever with little maintenance.
Reviewer: Spuzz - - June 11, 2005
Subject: Can I have that drawing you're throwing to the floor?
It's great that Rube Goldberg seems to have a never ending life it seems. From his still amazing strips to a movie on his life now being developed, it seems that he created quite the legacy. Anyways, He's the host of this first half of this short about why Gas is so important. But first shows us shows us drawings he and other people have come up with. I just love how after he finishes a drawing, he lets the drawing drop to the floor, like it wasn't important. Anyways, the patent he talks about, does actually exist. Looked iy up myself! He then talks about perpetual motion, and how the patent office doesn't issue patents for it anymore, but scientists have come up with the next best thing, gasoline! Examples with gasoline and pistons are then shown and how it is being used for the modern car. This was a fun short, actually. Reccomended!
Reviewer: Karma Hawk - - March 30, 2005
Subject: Perpetual oil?
This film seems to of been made for the express purpose of discouraging people from the idea of perpetual motion machines, in fact halfway through a voice out of the blue says "In fact The U.S Pattent Office will no longer grant pattents for perpetual motion machines" The film then goes on to explain about Oil and how it works, this is the low point of the film. The first half is much better as Rube shows us his idea for a "door-open-upper" and shows us s Pattent for a device called the "Hat Tipper" and thiers even a part at the end where one of his machines seemingly breaks down. This film is at it's best at these points,when Rube Goldberg is at the reigns, watch to see the brilliant animation, don't watch for the seemingly un-pc message that "gassoline is what makes the world go round"
Reviewer: 442 - - November 13, 2004
Subject: Best for nostalgia
What I liked most about the film were the period furniture, brand new and the view of NYC thru the window. You also have to love that even in a completed feature, Mr. Goldberg stutters.
Reviewer: op712 - - January 2, 2003
Subject: Classic Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg was a classic gentleman who thought up inventions and drew them out to pretend to ease our work - in the most uncanny, roundabout, and comical way. His drawing talents and his ideas are the results of a fanstastic imagination. Do we remember the Mattel board game back in the '60s, called "Mouse Trap?" This was a Rube Goldberg drawing taken for a board game. How the construction of the mouse trap began is by the spin of the arrow spinner, allowed players to assemble this mouse trap, piece by piece, until the winner "cranks the handle" to start the capturing of the mouse procedure. What a joy to play that game as a kid with the neighbour kids. I remember back in high school, we did that demostration of gasoline also, by putting air/fuel mixture in a cylinder (a coffee can) placing a ball that would just fit the diameter of the can by tamping it down in the can that had a spark plug welded to the center end of the can, and touched a battery to ignite that fuel mixture in that can. That ball really took off up in the skies and what an explosion that made, but it was fun and educational about the fuels that we use.
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